Hunt_Mary_2018

Mary Hunt

When it comes to housekeeping, there’s nothing quite so lovely as the smell of nothing. That’s the way clean is supposed to smell — like absolutely nothing!

Clean is the absence of odors from animals, people, garbage, rot, mold, mildew, smoke, dirt, grease and grime — not the presence of spray fragrance on top of odors. Check out these simple ways to keep your home smelling clean and fresh. And for those who love a scent, I have some ideas for that, too.

Deal with moisture. It’s the No. 1 cause of household odors, according to cleaning expert Rachel Hoffman, author of “Cleaning Sucks.” If you suspect this may be the source of that sour smell when you walk into a room, wonder no more.

Invest in an inexpensive hygrometer that measures humidity. Test every room, including the basement and attic. If you discover humidity levels above 60%, consider using a dehumidifier.

Place moisture-absorbing crystals like DampRid in closets and bathrooms. Don’t allow wet things like towels to sit in hampers for any length of time. Hang bathmats over the towel bar or shower rod following every use so they can dry out.

Address the obvious. The more time you spend around them, the less likely you are to notice the offensive odors radiating from litter boxes, dog beds, animal accidents, trash cans, diaper pails, clothes hampers, pillows and mattresses. You may have nose blindness known as sensory adaptation, according to Leslie Stein, Ph.D., director of communications at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. Just because you can’t smell your stuff doesn’t mean your home smells clean and fresh. The longer you allow those odors to linger, the more difficult it will be to get rid of them.

Soft surfaces. Carpet, rugs, pillows, upholstery, bed linens, drapes and curtains are magnets for dust, dirt and funky smells. Once a spill dries or dirt and dust settle in, odor-causing bacteria find a home, and that can lead to something even worse: mold and mildew.

If you haven’t done this in a while, start by washing all of the items that can go through the laundry — pillows, blankets, bedding, curtains and so forth. You may need to call in professionals for big jobs like carpet and draperies. Invest in a gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator, and use it according to its instructions.

Be proactive. You don’t want to wait until there’s a spill or accident, especially biological accidents such as urine and vomit. Clean it immediately with an enzymatic cleaner like Seventh Generation Natural Stain Remover Spray, and follow with Nok-Out.

Bring in the fresh air. The easiest (and cheapest) way to freshen any space, says Melissa Maker, author of “Clean My Space,” is to open the window. Let Mother Nature help out with those leftover cooking smells or lingering odors. If possible, open windows in opposite areas of the room or house to create cross-ventilation.

Even during the winter when it’s super cold outside, cracking a window for a short period of time can make a huge difference.

Neutralize. Odor neutralizers can go a long way to create the lovely smell of nothing and keep your home smelling fresh and clean. Activated charcoal filters that hang from a hook or sit in a drawer or cupboard are great ways to neutralize the air in bathrooms, closets and other areas prone to stinky situations.

Scented candles. Don’t expect that fresh-baked-cookies scented candle to eliminate the odor coming from the litter box. That will only turn the smell of cat pee into cat pee with an overtone of freshly baked cookies! But once you have achieved the smell of nothing (aka the smell of clean), scented candles or essential oil diffusers can create a wonderful ambiance, especially during the holidays.

Just don’t go overboard. One or two candles, or one diffuser, can fragrance an entire home.

Stovetop potpourri. Want to introduce a nice holiday scent? Set a small pot of water to simmer on the stove (or slow cooker set on low), to which you’ve added fresh cranberries, orange and apple slices, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and a few small pieces of an evergreen tree!

Mary Hunt, founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, writes this column for Creators Syndicate. Send tips or address questions to: Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740, or email her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com.

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